Book Review – Left You Dead by Peter James – Run of the Mill thriller
My Rating – 3.5 out of 5
Plot Summary – Left You Dead
This is Roy Grace #17 and I believe far from being the best. There is a novelty to the plot, and the way the climax is given away far before the end is unique as well, but the anti-climax at the end is exactly that – anti-climatic! In between, there is a heart wrenching tragedy which, even in fiction, is one of the toughest to take. As far as Police procedurals go, Peter James has got it down to a ‘T’, with every step ringing true and written like an insider would.
Based in Sussex, this edition takes off on a Sunday in September. Eden and Niall Paternoster are on their way back from visiting Country Houses (Parham House, in this instance), which they try and do ritualistically, every weekend. Before reaching home, however, Eden insists that they stop at the Tesco on their way (Holmbush) and pick up Cat litter for their pet, Reggie. Niall is unwilling to do so as he wants to get home soonest and catch the dying moments of the Belgian Grand Prix. Eden insists she will only be 5 minutes, so Niall acquiesces. As Niall parks, Eden jumps off and hurries towards the store and is never seen again!
When Eden doesn’t reappear, Niall goes looking for her but nobody has seen her and all searches for her are fruitless. Calls and texts to her phone go unanswered and a distraught Niall returns home. Next morning, with no further information on Eden, he finally calls the Police. Overall, seems like a clear cut case of a missing person, not something that would involve the Major Crimes Division, which Roy Grace heads. But something about the case piques Roy’s interest and he feels that there is something fishy about this whole scenario.
After they start investigating the sudden disappearance of Eden Paternoster, facts come to light which shift the focus onto Niall and he is arrested for the suspected murder of his wife Eden. Though there is no ‘body’ to be found, indications are that Niall has murdered his wife and disposed of her body and to divert attention from himself, has called the police himself. Even in custody, Niall keeps professing his innocence vehemently, even though mounting circumstantial evidence point otherwise. Roy Grace and his team keep poking away at the investigation, hoping something will soon give.
Conclusion – Book Review of Left You Dead
There are two more parallel stories that run along with the main one – one of Grace’s Bête Noire, ACC Pewe is about to get implicated in a scandal and suspended and another is a personal tragedy of a devastating nature. All put together, it is a handy read and starts off rather promisingly. Thereafter, it does become a little too predictable, and even through the mystery of Eden’s disappearance is solved long before the end, there is a final twist but one you can see coming for miles.
The writing is fluid and gets very, very involved in phases but though the beginning was rather intriguing, somewhere down the line it becomes rather mundane and ordinary. It is the preciseness of Peter James’ procedural expertise which makes it interesting till the very end and makes this one worth a one time read, at least. For fans of this series, this is definitely not a total letdown, but also not the best of the series so far. Recommended for a one time read.
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